Authors and Writers

NOC 5121


Authors and writers plan, research and write books, scripts, storyboards, plays, essays, speeches, manuals, specifications and other non-journalistic articles for publication or presentation. Authors and writers may specialize in a particular subject or type of writing. They are employed by advertising agencies, governments, large corporations, private consulting firms, publishing firms, multimedia/new-media companies and other establishments, or they may be self-employed.


Novelists, playwrights, script writers, poets and other creative writers:

  • Conceive and write novels, plays, scripts, poetry and other material for publication or presentation
  • May conduct research to establish factual content and to obtain other necessary information.

Technical writers:

  • Analyze material, such as specifications, notes and drawings and write manuals, user guides and other documents to explain clearly and concisely the installation, operation and maintenance of software and electronic, mechanical and other equipment.


  • Study and determine selling features of products and services and write text for advertisements and commercials.

Other Titles

  • scientific writer
  • medical writer
  • specifications writer
  • speech writer
  • technical writer
  • essayist
  • interactive media writer
  • advertising copywriter
  • copywriter
  • novelist
  • playwright
  • poet
  • literary writer
  • script writer

(Government of Canada National Occupation Classification)


  • Written communication
  • Creativity
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Research skills
  • Able to work independently
  • Basic computer skills
  • Time management

Education/Training Requirements

Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)

  • Most college/university programs in Ontario require an OSSD or Mature Student Status

Post-secondary diploma/degree

  • Technical writers usually require a university degree in their area of specialization, such as computer science or engineering
  • Copywriters usually require a university degree or college diploma in French, English, marketing, advertising, or another related discipline
  • Creative writing programs are offered by universities and colleges


  • Talent and ability demonstrated by a portfolio of work are important hiring criteria
  • Membership in a guild or union related to the occupation may be required

Potential Earnings in Durham Region

The average and median wages and salaries for individuals employed as authors and writers are as follows. Place of Residence (POR) is defined as individuals who reside within the Durham Region. Place of Work (POW) is defined as individuals who are employed within the Durham Region.

Median Wages and Salaries (POR) Average Wages and Salaries (POR) Median Wages and Salaries (POW) Average Wages and Salaries (POW)
$36,851 $41,338 $39,709 $47,160

Employment Prospects

Industry (NAICS) Jobs in Durham Region (POW) Durham Region Residents Employed (POR)
5111 – Newspaper, Periodical, Book and Director Publishers 25 25

(Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development 2016 data in Durham Workforce Authority’s 2017 Sector Report)

Additional Resources

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